|Publication number||US4495841 A|
|Application number||US 06/370,194|
|Publication date||Jan 29, 1985|
|Filing date||Apr 21, 1982|
|Priority date||Apr 21, 1982|
|Publication number||06370194, 370194, US 4495841 A, US 4495841A, US-A-4495841, US4495841 A, US4495841A|
|Inventors||Takashi Mori, Kouichi Mizu, Yasunori Jo|
|Original Assignee||Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (16), Classifications (7), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to an automatic power-driven screwdriver for tightening screws in a horizontal direction, and more particularly to an automatic screw tightening machine having a chute for feeding screws with their shanks hanging down and an index mechanism for orienting the screws in a horizontal direction before they are advanced and tightened by a screwdriver bit.
Various automatic screwdrivers have been used for tightening screws one by one in a horizontal direction. One form of such horizontal screw tightening machine comprises a chute for supplying screws arranged in a row, a tube for feeding the screws under pneumatic pressure one by one from the chute into a Y-shaped pipe, a pair of pivoted jaws mounted on the Y-shaped pipe for gripping one of the screws at a time, and a screwdriver bit reciprocably mounted in the Y-shaped pipe for driving the screw into a workpiece after the Y-shaped pipe has been advanced toward the workpiece. The tube for pneumatically forcing the screws into the Y-shaped pipe has a bore which is only slightly larger in diameter than the heads of the screws to be fed therethrough so that the screws can effectively be propelled without substantial air leakage past the screw heads. Therefore, the known screw tightening machine lacks versatility as it cannot tighten those screws which have head diameters that do not fit the tube bore.
Another prior horizontal screwdriver includes a chute on which screws are vertically supported in a horizontal row. A suction pipe draws screws one by one from the chute under a vacuum into the suction pipe. A screwdriver bit concentrically disposed in the suction pipe for tightening the screws. The suction tube and screwdriver bit are reciprocably movable between a vertical position in which a screw is introduced into the suction tube and a horizontal position in which the screw is driven by the screwdriver bit out of the suction pipe into a workpiece. The screw tightening machine, with a mechanism required for moving the suction tube and screwdriver bit, is relatively large in size and complicated in structure, and one cycle of operation of the machine requires a relatively long period of time for each screw to be applied.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an automatic screwdriver capable of tightening screws having different head diameters and/or shanks of varying lengths.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an automatic screwdriver for driving screws in a horizontal direction, the screwdriver having a relatively simple and small index mechanism for feeding screws one at a time from a chute to a horizontal position in which the screw is ready to be driven by a screwdriver into a workpiece.
According to the present invention, an automatic screwdriver for driving screws one by one into a workpiece in a horizontal sense includes a chute for supplying the screws arranged in a row with shanks hanging down, a gate mounted on the chute for allowing the screws to be discharged one at a time out of the chute, an index mechanism for carrying one screw at a time supplied from the chute through an angular interval to a catcher unit disposed in front of a screwdriver unit. The screwdriver unit has a horizontal suction pipe for drawing the screw therein from the catcher unit and a screwdriver bit mounted for rotation in the suction pipe, the screwdriver bit being axially reciprocably movable to advance the screw past the catcher unit for driving the screw into a workpiece. The index mechanism has a carrier arm that is angularly movable between a first position in which the carrier arm receives a screw from the chute and a second position in which the screw is transferred onto the catcher unit. The gate, the index mechanism, and the screwdriver unit are actuatable by a pneumatic control system.
The above and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which a preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown by way of illustrative example.
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a automatic screwdriver according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the automatic screwdriver shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the automatic screwdriver as viewed in the direction of the arrow A in FIG. 1;
FIGS. 4 through 7 are fragmentary cross-sectional views of the automatic screwdriver;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along line B--B of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a plan view of the automatic screwdriver as viewed in the direction of the arrow C in FIG. 7;
FIG. 10 is a circuit diagram of a pneumatic control system for the automatic screwdriver of the present invention; and
FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of a base supporting a catcher, pivotal levers and screw head guides aligning a screw received from a carrier arm with a suction tube and screwdriver bit unit.
As shown in FIG. 1, an automatic screwdriver basically comprises a hopper 1 for containing screws S, a slanted chute 2 for supplying the screws by gravity, which are arranged in a row with their shanks hanging down, a gate 3 for discharging the screws one at a time out of the chute 2, an index mechanism 4 for carrying one screw at a time from the chute 2 along an angular interval down to a catcher unit 5 in which the screw is oriented in a horizontal direction, and a screwdriver bit unit 6 for drawing the screw therein and driving the screw into a workpiece.
In FIG. 3, the chute 2 is mounted on a frame F of the screwdriver and has a groove 2a extending therealong for receiving a row of screws S. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 7, the gate 3 includes a base 9 mounted on the frame F and an escape slide 8 slidably disposed in the base 9 and movable transversely of the chute 2. The escape slide 8 has a pair of fingers 10, 11 screwed thereto and jointly defining a curved slot 3a extending transversely of the groove 2a of the chute 2. The curved slot 3a is dimensioned such that it will allow one of the screws at a time to pass therethrough while moving along the groove 2a when the escape slide 8 slides. The escape slide 8 is normally urged by a spring 12 to move in the direction of the arrow a (FIG. 3) to close the gate 3. The escape slide 8 has a roller cam follower 13 supported adjacent to the finger 10 for being engaged by a cam surface 16a of a rack 16, which will be described below.
A single acting air cylinder 14 is mounted on the frame F and has a piston rod 14a which is connected through a connector 15 to rack 16. Actuation of the air cylinder 14 to draw in the piston rod 14a causes the cam surface 16a to engage the roller cam follower 13 for sliding the escape slide 8 to open the gate 3. Extending movement of the piston rod 14a is limited by a stopper 17 mounted on the frame F when the connector 15 abuts against the stopper 17. The rack 16 is held in driving mesh with a pinion 18 secured to a shaft 19 which is rotatably journalled by bearings 21, 21 (FIG. 8) in a pair of support brackets 20, 20 disposed on the frame F.
The index mechanism 4 includes a carrier arm 23, as shown in FIGS. 3 through 9, which is rotatably supported on the shaft 19 by a pair of bearings 22, 22 (FIG. 8). A plate cam 24 which has an arcuate cam surface 24a is affixed to the shaft 19. A pusher block 25 is movably mounted on the carrier arm 23 and has a roller cam follower 26 that is normally held in abutting engagement with the arcuate cam surface 24a under the resiliency of a compression spring 27 acting between the carrier arm 23 and the pusher block 25. The plate cam 24 has a stop 29 against which a lower edge of the carrier arm 23 is normally held by tension spring 28 acting between the plate cam 24 and the carrier arm 23, as illustrated in FIG. 7. Therefore, the carrier arm 23 is resiliently urged into abutment against the stop 29 of the plate cam 24 for corotation therewith around the shaft 19. A stop bar 30 is mounted on the frame F for stopping the carrier arm 23 in its angular movement at its upper position (FIG. 7) in which a screw S which has passed through the gate 3 can be supplied to the carrier arm 23 and received by the pusher block 25. The carrier arm 23 supports thereon a screw holder 31 pivotably mounted on a pivot pin 32 and biased by a torsion spring 34 to hold the screw S down against the pusher block 25. A holder lifter 33 is mounted on the frame F adjacent to the stop bar 30 for engagement with a rear end of the screw holder 31 to raise the latter away from the pusher block 25 when the carrier arm 23 is in the upper position illustrated in FIG. 7. Thus, in this upper position, the screw S can be transferred from the chute 2 onto the pusher block 25 with the screw holder 31 out of the way.
The catcher unit 5 comprises a base 35 mounted on the frame F and a catcher 37 pivotably supported by a pivot pin 36 on the base 35. The catcher 37 is normally urged by a tension spring 38 (FIG. 4) in a direction to turn clockwise into abutting engagement with a stopper rod 39. The catcher 37 has a recess 37a (FIGS. 5 and 7) opening upwardly and receptive of a screw S horizontally in a position which is horizontally aligned with the screwdriver bit unit 6. The catcher 37 also has a plate 40 fixed thereto for supporting the head of the screw S retained in the recess 37a. A stop 58 (FIG. 7) is mounted on the frame F for stopping the carrier arm 23 in its angular movement at its lower position (FIG. 5) in which a screw S can be transferred from the pusher block 25 into the recess 37a in the catcher 37. Thus, the carrier arm 23 is angularly movable about the shaft 19 between the upper position as shown in FIG. 7 and the lower position as shown in FIG. 5.
As illustrated in FIG. 2, a pair of screw head guides 41, 41 are mounted respectively on a pair of pivotable levers 43, 43 which are angularly movable about a pair of pins 42, 42, respectively, mounted on the base 35. The levers 43, 43 are operatively coupled to a rod 45 which is normally urged to the left as shown in FIG. 2 in a direction to separate the screw head guides 41, 41 away from each other. The rod 45 is also urged by a compression spring 46 to move in the opposite direction to bring the screw head guides 41, 41 toward each other, the compression spring 46 acting between the rod 45 and a slide 49 which is slidable along a slide rod 55. When the slide 49 is in its starting position or leftmost position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the forces of the springs 44, 46 acting on the rod 45 are in equilibrium or a state of balance, keeping the screw head guides 41, 41 put together or closed.
The screwdriver bit unit 6 includes a suction pipe 47 threaded coaxially into a vacuum pipe 48 slidably extending through a guide bushing 48a mounted in the frame F, as shown in FIG. 7. The vacuum pipe 48 is axially slidable in an outer cylinder 50 supported on the slide 49. A screwdriver bit 51 is threadedly affixed to a bit holder 52 in coaxial relation, which is rotatably disposed in the vacuum pipe 47. The bit holder 52 is coupled to an acutator 53 mounted on the outer cylinder 50 so as to be driven by the actuator 53 for advancing and rotating the screwdriver bit 51 in the suction pipe 47. The suction pipe 47 is coupled to a vacuum-generating device (described later) to develop a vacuum therein for drawing a screw S from the catcher 37 into the suction pipe 47.
An air cylinder 54 is mounted on the frame F, as illustrated in FIG. 1, and has a piston rod 54a which is secured to the slide 49 for moving the latter slidably along the rod 55. A pneumatic directional control valve 56 and a microswitch 57 are mounted on the frame F, as shown in FIG. 2, and are actuatable by the slide 49 when it returns to the position of FIG. 2.
The automatic screwdriver thus constructed will operate as follows: When a starting signal is supplied, the air cylinder 54 is actuated to move the slide 49 slidably along the rod 55 to the left as shown in FIG. 1, whereupon the valve 56 is turned off to stop pressurization of the single acting cylinder 14. The rack 16 is allowed to return with the piston rod 14a, and the shaft 19 is caused to rotate to bring the plate cam 24 and the carrier arm 23 angularly upwardly until the carrier arm 23 is held in abutment against the stop rod 30 at the upper position shown in FIG. 7. At this position, the screw holder 31 is lifted by the holder lifter 33 away from the carrier arm 23. Contracting movement of the piston rod 14a causes the cam surface 16a to engage the roller cam follower 13 and to move the slide 8 transversely of the chute 2. The curved slot 3a traverses the groove 2a to discharge one of the screws S off the chute 2 onto the carrier arm 23, whereupon the discharged screw S is received by the pusher block 25.
Upon advancing movement of the slide 49, the resilient force of the spring 46 is reduced allowing the rod 45 to move to the left under the resiliency of the spring 44, thus opening the screw head guides 41 laterally away from each other. At the same time, the suction pipe 47 moves forward to draw a screw S from the catcher 37 into the suction pipe 47 under a vacuum developed therein. Continued advance of the suction pipe 47 with the screw S introduced therein pushes the catcher 37 down against the force of the spring 38 as shown in FIG. 4. The suction pipe 47 is moved forward until the front end thereof abuts against a workpiece W, whereupon the screwdriver bit 51 is actuated to drive the screw S into the workpiece S.
When the screw tightening is over, a signal is generated to retract the screwdriver bit unit 6 to the right as shown in FIG. 1. As the screwdriver bit unit 6 reaches its rearmost position, the valve 56 is actuated to enable the single acting cylinder 14 to extend its piston rod 14a. The shaft 19 is then turned to start angularly moving the carrier arm 23 and the plate cam 24 clockwise as shown in FIG. 7, allowing the screw holder 31 to hold the screw S down against the pusher block 25 under the resiliency of the torsion spring 34. The carrier arm 23 is stopped in its angular movement by the stop 58 at the lower position shown in FIG. 5, in which the carrier arm 23 is held in vertical alignment with the catcher 37. Continued advancing movement of the rack 16 causes the cam plate 24 to turn clockwise through an additional angle against the bias of the tension spring 28, enabling the cam surface 24a to depress the roller cam follower 26 and hence the pusher block 25 against the force of the spring 27 until the screw S is transferred from the latter into the recess 37a in the catcher 37 as illustrated in FIG. 6. When the connector 15 abuts against the stopper 17, the plate cam 24 stops moving angularly. Thus, one cycle of operation of the screwdriver is completed. The foregoing cycle of operation will be repeated to drive screws S successively into the workpiece W.
The gate 3, the index mechanism 4, and the screwdriver bit unit 6 are actuated under the control of a pneumatic control system as illustrated in FIG. 10. The pneumatic control system includes a solenoid-operated directional control valve 59 for controlling the direction of flow of pressurized air from a source of compressed air C such as an air compressor to the air cylinder 54. When the solenoid-operated valve 59 is actuated to cause air to flow via a pipe 60 and a regulator 61 into a cylinder port 54b, the piston rod 54a of the cylinder 54 starts extending. The regulator 61 serves to adjust a pneumatic pressure applied on the screwdriver bit 51 from the air cylinder 54. Pressurized air from the source C is also supplied via the valve 59 into a supply port 62a of a vacuum-generating device 62 of the ejector-type or the venture-type. Air under pressure is fed through an exhaust port 62b and a Tee 63, and discharged from a muffler 64 into the atmosphere. With air thus discharged through the device 62, a vacuum is developed in a suction port 62 of the device 62 to draw air through a filter 65, the vacuum pipe 48 and the suction pipe 47 for introducing a screw into the suction pipe 47. Then, the screw is driven into the workpiece.
When the solenoid-operated valve 59 is de-energized, air under pressure in the air cylinder 54 is delivered from the port 54a via the regulator 61, the pipe 60, a pipe 66, the tee 63, the exhaust port 62b, the suction port 62c, the filter 65, the vacuum pipe 48 and the suction pipe 47 into the atmosphere. The air flow thus discharged out of the suction pipe 47 serves to eject any screw which may have remained in the suction pipe 47 due to unsuccessful screw-tightening operation, to force out of the suction pipe 47 any dust or debris which tends to be trapped in the suction pipe 47 where self-tapping screws are tightened by the screwdriver, and to clean the vacuum-generating device 62 and the filter 65 of dust or any foreign matter. The tee 63 is connected such that the exhaust port 62b and the pipe 66 are aligned with each other and the muffler 64 is coupled to a branch of the tee which extends normally to the line along which the exhaust port 62b and the pipe 66 are in alignment. With this arrangement, air flowing from the pipe 66 is prevented from going into the muffler 64 and is instead allowed to flow into the exhaust port 62b.
The solenoid-operated valve 59 should be preferably of a construction such that its spool is sealed only at its both ends. With this arrangement, inlet and outlet ports 59a, 59b of the valve 59 can communicate with each other when the valve spool is on its stroke to change the direction of flow of air, thereby allowing additional air to be fed into the pipe 66 for cleaning the device 62, the filter 65, and the suction pipe 47.
The pusher block 25 on the carrier arm 23 is effective to transfer screws with shorter shanks into the recess 37a in the catcher 37 since without the pusher block 25 such screws would become unstable in attitude while being transferred into the recess 37a.
Screws with longer shanks can drop into the recess 37a due to gravity when the screw holder 31 is lifted away from the pusher block 25, without lowering the pusher block 25. Such lifting of the screw holder 31 can be effected by providing the plate cam 24 at its front end with a projection for depressing the rear end of the screw holder 31, or providing a stopper which can engage the front end of the screw holder 31 when the carrier arm 23 abuts against the stop 58.
The screw head guides 41, 41 serve to stabilize screws having shorter shanks while the screws are being fed from the pusher block 25 into the recess 37a in the catcher 37. Without the screw head guides 41, 41, screws having sufficient shank lengths could be supplied into the recess 37a without any tendency to get reversed or turned the other way around. Although in the illustrated embodiment the carrier arm and the screw holder 31 jointly hold the head of a screw, an arrangement may be made to grip the shank of the screw below the head when the screw is carried on the carrier arm. Furthermore, the pusher block 25 may be arranged such that it pushes screws at their heads or shanks below the heads.
While a certain preferred embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described in detail, it should be understood that various changes or modifications may be made therein without departing from the scope of the appended claims.
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|CN102152958A *||Jan 25, 2011||Aug 17, 2011||株式会社大武源工业||Automatic screw tightening apparatus|
|CN102152958B||Jan 25, 2011||Nov 13, 2013||株式会社大武源工业||Automatic screw tightening apparatus|
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|U.S. Classification||81/430, 81/435, 227/117, 81/57.37|
|Apr 21, 1982||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL COMPANY, LIMITED, 1
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNORS:MORI, TAKASHI;MIZU, KOUICHI;JO, YASUNORI;REEL/FRAME:004016/0359
Effective date: 19820330
|Jul 15, 1988||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jul 17, 1992||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jul 15, 1996||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12